During a conference call Friday, Congressman Mike Conaway (R-Texas) defended the revamped and redesigned Republican healthcare bill that will dismantle much of the American Healthcare Act, passed by the Obama administration. Conaway made the call ahead of the vote in the House which is slated for Thursday.
During a conference call Friday, Congressman Mike Conaway defended the revamped and redesigned Republican healthcare bill that will dismantle much of the American Healthcare Act, passed by the Obama administration.
Conaway defended the revamped version of the law which President Donald Trump vowed to “repeal and replace” almost immediately after the election. Conaway said he was confident that the Republicans could get the required 51 votes needed in the House of Representatives to move the bill on to the Senate.
“The 51 vote threshold is critical to getting the repeal piece done,” Conaway said during the telephone conference.
The bill would undo much of Former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, eliminating the so-called “individual mandate” that created tax penalties for people who don't buy insurance and halting the expansion of Medicaid, which is the federal-state health program for the poor.
The bill would also create new tax credits that would be less generous than current federal subsidies for many consumers, and it would reverse tax increases on the wealthy and medical firms that helped finance Obama's expansion of coverage to 20 million Americans.
According to preliminary reports, the Republican plan means that 10-14 million Americans will lose insurance if it passes. However, Conaway contends that those are people that would otherwise choose not to purchase healthcare coverage.
Instead of the individual mandate, the bill includes a “continuous coverage” provision with the same aim of encouraging young and healthy Americans to buy health insurance and helping to keep premiums down. The provision requires insurers to charge a 30 percent penalty to people who get health insurance after going without coverage the year before.
“At its core it aims to revitalize the market,” Conaway said. “The 30 percent penalty associated with the ACA will go away as part of the manager’s amendment.”
But Conaway said adding harder-line provisions “can poison the bill” before it gets to the Senate.
There are nearly 129,000 uninsured people in the 11th District that Conaway represents, according to the most recent census data. A reporter asked Conaway during a conference call with reporters Friday what it would mean if that number climbed after the bill, the American Health Care Act, became law.
Conaway maintains that the new bill, gives Americans a choice.
“Folks under the new system who choose not to participate - that's their choice,” Conaway said.
Several key Republican leaders have voiced opposition to the bill. During the conference Friday, Conaway expressed confidence that the bill would pass the House. In the Senate, there is a 60-vote threshold.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.